ssǝɹddns ɹou ɹɐǝɟ ɹǝɥʇıǝu plnoʍ ʎʇǝıɔos ǝǝɹf a that ƃuıʇnɔolɯnɔɹıɔ suıɐʇuoɔ ǝʇıs sıɥʇ

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Failure does not necessarily equal corruption

Between the Internet, talk radio and published reports, I’m getting an almost accusatory vibe whereas the ineffectiveness of City Vest’s efforts to market the Hotel Sterling are concerned.

Sure, City Vest spent upwards of $6 million with little to nothing to show for it. And, yes, it’s fair to call for an audit of all the finances involved, since those funds were provided by governmental bodies. Audit away!

But I think in the end all that we’ll learn is that even though they failed, they tried. Wrongdoing? I seriously doubt it. Not with the likes of Judd Shoval involved.

And while faced with a flailing economy as a result of an economic meltdown in 2008, a seriously denuded real estate market, a heretofore unheard of credit crunch and a general feeling of economic malaise for too long now, I’m not surprised that the old hotel turned out to be less than marketable.

In fact, it’s much like the fate of the Sinawa project on Penn Avenue…the pile of rubble that used to be the Murray Complex.

Before the mother of all recessions, the plan was to build retail space as well as housing units. Then the bottom dropped out of the U.S. economy. I’ve heard the howling critics, going on and on about how the developer was granted Tax Incremental Financing (T.I.F.) as part of the purchasing agreement. They point to that tax forgiveness as proof positive that the taxpayers have been wronged, since no new construction has come about.

Fact is, in this economy, I wouldn’t be too quick to sink millions into any grandiose local project either. I’m not saying I’m happy about that pile of rubble becoming a familiar site in the downtown area, but I’m not quick to point an accusatory finger, or fling an incendiary bomb with Americans doing their grocery shopping in Family Dollar stores in increasing numbers.

For the time being, perhaps we should temper our expectations.

Thanks to Dan the Fireman, I learned that we’ve got a new entrant to the local blog-o-rama…Jim Hayward at Stop Corruption Now!

Some background: Jim Hayward is a former city firefighter, a former city administrator and an attorney currently on hiatus.

I have absolutely no problem with anyone or any group who endeavors to post investigative forays into how our local governments are perpetrating misdeeds and/or missteps upon an unsuspecting public. But after two posts, I see as many inaccuracies and half-truths as I see certifiable facts on this new site.

For instance, this oft-repeated rant about how the City’s surveillance camera system supposedly does not work.

Very recently, when city police officers were responding to a call at an East End address, one of the occupants of the house took off on foot when the first of the officers arrived. And then a foot chase into Coal Street Park ensued.

When the officer caught up to the fleeing female, another officer came over the scanner by telling the chasing officer, “I have you both on camera.”

So, in this case, not only did the system work as designed, it worked well after dark, which clearly highlights it’s infrared capabilities.

While repetition may lead to reputation, repetition does little to prove that a reputation is deserved.

Anyway, there’s a new local site to peruse.

In my mind, it is absolutely essential that Wilkes-Barre have representation on that soon-to-be seated Luzerne County Council. This is the county seat. This is the county's largest municipality hosting the county's largest indigenous populace.

And that’s one of the many reasons why I will support Harry Haas.

And then we’ve got a call to wake up at Wake Up Wilkes-Barre.



WBFF088 said...

Mark, I might be wrong, but I think this 'Jim Hayward' is the son of the retired firefighter.

zorcong said...

If that's truly the case, he ought to investigate the former administration. You know, the one that destroyed this city's finances, it's infrastructure, it's bond rating, it's reputation, it's morale and it's hope for the future.

That would be the administration that his dad played second fiddle in.

If that's the case, then Junior ought not turn a blind eye to the city's recent, destructive past.

Sez me

D.B. Echo said...

One of the first comments - possibly THE first comment - I received from a local feller calling himself "Gort" was regarding the Hotel Sterling:

Even then it was clear to me that we weren't on the verge of an economic crisis, but we were in one and were simply being carried forward by momentum. I could not imagine a future in which anyone would be willing to make the necessary investment to save the hotel, not with a probable negative return on investment.

(I also foresaw the coming housing crisis as I negotiated my mortgage six months later. None of these things allowed me to sidestep joining the ranks of the unemployed twice since then.)

Anonymous said...

It is indeed Jim Hayward, the retired firefighter and city administrator. Rumor has it he only needs a couple more years to get his pension so he teamed up with Charlotte in hopes she wins so he can get a job back in the city. Doesn't surprise me one bit.We all know he isn't practicing law anymore.